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Canterbury crime falls to record low level

Canterbury crime falls to record low level

Canterbury, 1 April 2014 - Recorded crime in Canterbury continues to decrease and is now at a record low level, after falling by more than 5 percent from 2012 to 2013.

Crime figures released today, for the 2013 calendar year, show a total of 40,393 offences were recorded in Canterbury for the 12 months to 31 December 2013, compared to 42,796 in 2012 - a drop of 5.6 percent.

On a per head of population basis, recorded crime fell from 773.5 offences per 10,000 people in 2012 to 720.5 in 2013 - a reduction of 6.8 percent.

The level of total recorded crime is the lowest in at least 19 years, when the current reporting regime began (1994), and continues a long-term trend of falling crime rates.

While overall crime decreased, the proportion of crime resolved by Police fell slightly, from 45 percent in 2012 to 41.9 percent in 2013.

District Commander Superintendent Gary Knowles says the 2013 result is an extremely positive one for Canterbury.

"The message for Canterbury residents is that our focus on prevention is working, and after the earthquake upheavals we are back on track in terms of keeping our communities safe," he says.

"Although the previous year saw a small increase in recorded crime, which was a correction to the post-earthquake dip, it's good news that the long-term trend remains downward.

"We've put a huge effort into crime prevention and into our frontline response over the past 24 months and these investments are now producing the results we anticipated.

"We've introduced initiatives such as increased proactive patrols, new technology to help us track and anticipate crime trends, mobility devices which give out frontline staff instant access to critical information about offenders and incidents.

"We also have more flexible rosters and a new district command centre which enables us to make sure we can put our staff in the right place at the right time.

"All of these are now an integral part of our day-to-day policing and are contributing to crime reduction, and to reducing the number of people becoming victims or repeat victims of crime."

In the 2013 year theft and related offences made up the highest proportion of recorded crime, at 33.09 percent, followed by property damage related offences (14.78%), unlawful entry and burglary (14.13%), public order offences (11.37%) and acts intended to cause injury (8.96%). These proportions are relatively similar to previous years.

Theft and related offences recorded a slight increase from 13,338 offences to 13,366, but decreased on a population basis, from 241.1 offences per 10,000 population to 238.4 - a reduction of 1.1 percent.

Within that category, motor vehicle theft decreased by 4.7 percent, from 5,875 offences to 5,600. Theft other than motor vehicles increased by 2.3 percent, from 6,784 to 6,937.

Property damage offences fell by 12.1 percent during the period, from 6,772 offences in 2012 to 5,953 in 2013.

The total number of recorded burglary offences rose slightly, from 5,661 to 5,707, an increase of 0.8 percent. However, on a population basis burglary reduced by 0.5 percent, from 102.3 offences per 10,000 population to 101.8.

The sub-category of dwelling burglaries decreased slightly on a population basis, from 80.3 offences per 10,000 population to 79.7.

Public order offences recorded a significant reduction from 5,648 offences in 2012 to 4,593 in 2013, a drop of 18.7 percent.

Within that category, disorderly conduct offences fell by 14 percent, from 3,676 offences to 3,160. Regulated public order offences, which includes breach of liquor ban offences, fell by 32.2 percent from 1,728 offences to 1,171.

The total number of assaults in Canterbury fell from 3,773 in 2012 to 3,616 in 2013, a reduction of 4.2 percent.

Within that category, the number of serious assaults resulting in injury fell by 7.29 percent, from 823 to 763. Public place assaults fell by 12.52 percent, from 1,222 offences to 1,069. Dwelling assaults fell by 5.75 percent, from 2,053 offences to 1,935.

Overall drug-related offending decreased by 25.3 percent, from 1,837 offences in 2012 to 1,373 in 2013.

The largest category of drug-related offending, possession and use, recorded a 22.8 percent drop in offending, from 880 offences in 2012 to 679 in 2013.

Sexual assault offences increased by 4.9 percent, from 405 to 425 offences. This is a significantly lower increase than in the previous year (a 15.4% increase), but continues an increasing trend since 2010.

Factors which may be contributing to the increase include increased historical reporting and better police family violence processes, but also the ongoing impacts of alcohol, Superintendent Knowles says.

Five murders were recorded across the District in the 2013, year compared to nine in 2012 and four in 2011.

Other results:
• Robbery and related offences (186 offences) increased by 2.8 percent compared to 2012 (181).
• Fraud, deception and related offences (1,018 offences) decreased by 5.7 percent compared to 2012 (1079).
• Weapons-related offences (565 offences) decreased by 6.9 percent compared to 2012 (607 offences).

A breakdown of the statistics across the district, based on the previous Canterbury District structure, shows that recorded crime in Christchurch Central is showing signs of returning to pre-quake levels as population and activity return to the central city.

Recorded offences in Christchurch Central (10,384 offences) were up by 6.6 percent on 2012 (9,745) but still significantly below 2010 levels (15,107).

In the Northern Area, recorded crime reduced by 11.2 percent from 2012 to 2013, with total offences falling from 15,069 to 13,384.

The Southern area recorded a drop in total crime of 9.2 percent, from 12,612 offences in 2012 to 11,455 in 2013.

Under the new Canterbury district structure the former Central, Northern and Southern Areas are now combined to make up the Christchurch Area.

The Mid-South Canterbury Area, which covers Timaru, Ashburton and rural Mid- and South Canterbury, recorded a 3.7 percent reduction in crime from 2012 to 2013. The total offences for 2013 were 5,170, down from 5,370 in 2012.

Statistics New Zealand population data used to calculate crime rates show that the Canterbury District population increased from 553,310 in 2012 to 560,640 in 2013.

Superintendent Knowles says while the 2013 year results are positive, it will take continued effort to maintain the trend.

"We know that as population and economic activity return to Christchurch, for example, the pressure will also come on crime figures," he says. "We want to make sure offending continues to decline.

"That will mean keeping a focus on crime prevention and on victims. A major part of this will be a continued push to prevent and reduce alcohol-related crime.

"We know that alcohol is a major contributor to much of the offending that we see every day - especially assaults, disorder and family violence."

ENDS

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